The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Ow! Bit in the *rear* again!

drfugawe's picture

Ow! Bit in the *rear* again!

Baking bread can be such a humbling experience!  Just about the time you think you're finally making some headway, alone comes an absoultely horrible loaf that brings you back to earth.  In the interest of learning, let me share my current negative experience - and maybe someone knows what's happening here - I sure don't!

Last night I put together a sourdough dough to ferment overnight - was kind'a wet, but it was too late to think much about it - this morning I rechecked my recipe source and discovered that I had erred on the amount of flour - I had put in about 15% less than called for.  So I thought, OK, I'll just add the needed 15% more flour, and put it back on the KA to work some more - I did that and left it on the KA for about 12-15 minutes.

I noticed some strange behavour during the kneading, at first, the dough clung to the hook as one would expect (this was now a 62% hydration dough), but when I next looked at it, the dough had sunk to the bottom of the bowl.  So I stopped the machine, and removed the dough.  It was strangely shiny, sticky, and had lost its strength - had the gluten broken down?  Also, instead of being smooth and tight, it had dimples on its surface - like dough with acne.

I covered it and put it in a proofing environment, but I'm not expecting much from this batch.

What's happening here?  I'd love to know just so I can know what to avoid in the future.  Or what to do right.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and then breakdown of gluten.  I don't work with machines but the 12-15 min made me cringe before I finished the sentence.   You certainly lost all the structure from your overnite fermentation.  Because the gluten was long developed in the dough, the machine more or less ripped it apart.  The dimples, little clumps if flour that wouldn't mix in? 

I think it would have been better to work the flour in by hand or only for a very short minute and then let the flour absorb water from the dough for 20-30 min.  Like a second autolyse.  Another short knead and then rest 20 min.  Doing this until the dough was uniform.    My own experience has told me that I won't get all the missing 15% into the dough because it is very different from when it was first mixed.  The available moisture has been completely absorbed by the flour and it is slow to give any water back for additional flour.  Sourdough does however tend to be more flexible in this respect.  To reduce the additional flour from 15% to 10% (or even 5%) and then incorporate giving the dough lots of rest time to moisten the flour between folds  may work out better.  

Funny enough, I have used this trick (long wait before adding flour) when I didn't have enough flour for a recipe (I ran out.)   Stumbled upon it by accident.  So the same dough will still come out even if there is a little less flour,  it will also proof a little bit faster so watch the dough surface tension.


drfugawe's picture

Wow - I had no idea.  I much appreciate this info. 

The crazyest part of this was that after I had supposedly ruined the dough on the KA, I put it a bowl and set it all in a nice warm place where I left it for 3 hours - when I next looked at it, it was beautiful!  It had risen nicely, it had developed structure - but it was still very sticky - With lots of flour, I formed the dough into 4 oz balls and made rolls, which I proofed for an additional hour.  They baked up nicely - more nicely than they should have, actually!

JeremyCherfas's picture

Handsome is as handsome does.

And those rolls certainly look handsome to me.


drfugawe's picture

Beauty is only skin deep!

These babies may have risen better than expected, but the internal texture is poor, and the taste is not great - so not all is as it seems.